Louisiana extends phase two of reopening for 28 more days


Prakriti Adhikari/The Lion's Roar

Governor John Bel Edwards expressed in a radio interview with Brian Haldane that the phase two of reopening will be extended. The official announcement will be made before current phase two expires on Friday, Aug. 28.

Phase three of reopening has been postponed for the state of Louisiana. 

On June 22, Gov. John Bel Edwards stated in a press conference that Louisiana will remain in Phase two for at least 28 more days.

“We will not be moving to phase three when the order expires at the end of this week,” announced Edwards. “Instead, we will remain in Phase Two. We will issue an order to that effect later this week, probably on Thursday. That order will extend out another 28 days. Two weeks from now, we will be doing another deep data dive to see whether we can move forward or whether we need to implement more restrictions.”

Edwards mentioned that the state’s increase in cases was mostly related to spread within communities.

“We have seen the number of COVID cases and related hospitalizations increase across the state over the last number of days,” stated Edwards. “The vast majority of the new cases are related to community spread rather than spread in congregate settings like nursing homes.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Louisiana has over 50,000 reported cases of COVID-19 and over 3,000 deaths as of June 22, 2020. 

The Louisiana Department of Health reported that, as of June 21, 2020, there were over 39,000 of the presumed recovered cases. As of June 23, 2020 out of the 646 patients in hospitals, 83 of those are on ventilators. 

According to the LDH, over 31,000 tests have been performed by the state lab, while over 586,000 commercial tests have been performed. 

The United States now has a total of 2,275,645 cases and 119,923 deaths due to the virus, according to the CDC, as of June 22,2020. 

According to a WDSU article published on June 22, 2020, several businesses in Hammond and Ponchatoula that reopened to the public have announced they are closing again due to outbreaks of the virus in the area. Those businesses include Cate Street Seafood, La Caretta in both Ponchatoula and Hammond, Salty Joe’s, Kirin, Brady’s and North Cypress. 

Edwards addressed the current information on COVID-19 cases and testing in the state of Louisiana. 

“We are testing a lot more people,” stated Edwards. “As you know, we have a goal to test 4.3% of our population each month. That’s 200,000 people. Without any tests today, I know that we’re already about 160,000 tests in the month of June. So we’re way ahead of where we’ve ever been thus far in the number of tests that we’re administering.”

Edwards urged Louisiana residents to continue practicing alleviation efforts, including wearing a mask, social distancing, frequent hand washing and staying home if you are sick.

Editor’s note: Updated on June 23, 2020 at 1:30 p.m. for accuracy.